This blog is written by me. I’m intending to write to you, just like we were sat at my old kitchen table. I would have made you a decent cup of Yorkshire tea, you know the sort. Not quite a builder’s brew or creosote, but definitely the sort of tea that will cure what ails you.
To be honest, the conversations I have had over the many years of my mental health journey have often involved a cup of tea. At times when things have been bad for me, it has been a ‘cup of tea and a chat’ that has helped me find my way out of my own dark places. I am not saying that professional help and medication didn’t also have a part in my recovery. But people just like me, offering a biscuit and a brew, really did help me not feel not quite so lost and afraid in the world. Even now as a mostly well person, I feel privileged to be able to offer other people a cup of tea and a chat.
Although Covid happened, so you might have to make your own cup of tea.
So come in, sit down. Biscuits at the ready. Let me tell you a short story. Obviously, I’ve made it sound better than it was. Because I’m writing this and I have some artistic freedom here. I mean wouldn’t you polish the turds a bit?
This is the bit where I have to remind you I’m talking about Mental Health. If you are in your own dark place at the moment, this could be provoking. If you do need some support, this blog is on the page of a mental health support helpline. (You didn’t end up here because you were searching for a Delia Smith recipe did you?) So if you need to talk to someone call us on the helpline.
Where do we start?
I guess the safest way to put it is I am a child of people who were not wise enough to be good enough parents. When taking my history I tick quite a few of the ACE’S (Adverse Childhood Experiences) boxes. I grew up knowing the world wasn’t the kind and caring place that my friends experienced. I guess this leads me to believe in some way I was responsible for what the adults around me did and failed to do. A wound that has hurt me in countless ways. Poor life choices and a core belief that I didn’t deserve any better. Now water that child with poverty, learning difficulties and homosexuality and you get an angry young adult.
Oh gosh was I angry. Unfortunately, that anger was often directed at the people trying to help. Fundamentally I believed I deserved to be treated badly. So I got myself into toxic relationships who at times used my vulnerability to their own needs. Which did not help, and I guess fuelled my mental health difficulties.
That has all changed now, but it has taken a monumental effort. I have had years and years of therapy. I still have therapy. I am now well doing the work on myself to make my future better. I have consciously built relationships with good people who do not feed my self-doubt. Seeing yourself in the mirror of people who believe in you, is at times uncomfortable but is good for me in the long term.
I guess that’s where the cup of tea and a chat comes in. I have had my own journey. I absolutely do not have answers. What I have is empathy, I’ve been to dark places and I’ve done stupid things. I found that personal work, time and cups of tea, can make things better. Well, it doesn’t make it worse, although some NHS tea is a bit thin on the ground and a biscuit, there even more scarce these days.
That’s enough for today. Life is tough, but cup of tea and a chat? We can help with that.
When I write a post, I want to try include a link or resource that might be helpful if you want to understand or learn more. I found this free online course all about Adverse Childhood Experiences, I have done this training myself, and the bit I liked most was about building resilience. The things that help children feel safe are the same things I can do as an adult now to help me feel safe.
Here’s the link https://www.acesonlinelearning.com/